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Judaic Studies Program

 Zakhar Berkovich

Zakahar Berkowitz

Growing up in the Former Soviet Union Republic of Belarus, I was blessed with opportunity to learn about my Jewish roots, the State of Israel, Hebrew, and celebrate the Jewish Holidays. When my family made final decision to move to the United States from Belarus I did not want to lose this knowledge and to continue my connection with my “Jewishness.” When it was time to choose the college to attend, University at Albany was the most obvious choice. It not only offered me the option of studying Biology for my future degree in medicine, but it also has an amazing Jewish community.

My involvement in Hillel led me to the Judaic Studies Department. I started by taking a Hebrew language course and today I am majoring in the Judaic Studies. The Department’s faculty offered me much more than just their knowledge of history, literature, and Hebrew. They offered me moral and professional support. On more than one occassion has Ms. Harris helped coach me before an interview or edit a scholarship application. Dr. Trachtenberg regularly reminded me to stay concentrated on school work than to spread myself too thin with extracurricular activities. Dr. Isser was able to solve all of my advisement problems. On two occasions the Department awarded me with the Calvin and Patricia Zippin Endowment Scholarship.

I recently graduated with a Masters in Educational Administration at the University at Albany. My dream is to be a physician. However, I believe I would not be able to be successful in my profession if I did not know my roots. As a Russian-Jewish immigrant, the knowledge that I gained in the Judaic Studies Department at the University at Albany will help me to be the best physician I can be.